June 14, 2018
After one of Denham’s worst DACA failures on Tuesday,
Democratic Challenger Josh Harder and over 50 constituents gather for DREAMer protest demonstration in front of Incumbent’s office
(June 14, Modesto) - Over 50 locals gathered on a day’s notice after finding out Rep. Jeff Denham (CA-10) and Republican leadership effectively killed DACA on Tuesday. Josh Harder, Democratic Challenger, along with over 16 community groups from United Farm Workers to California Dream Network to Modesto Junior College Democrats rallied in front of Denham’s office to protest Rep. Denham’s failure on Tuesday after learning that he dropped the Discharge petition, effectively ceding the immigration issue to Republican party leaders. Constituents and political insiders allege that Jeff Denham was only participating in the discharge petition to score political points with immigrant communities crucial to his re-election, and that now he has failed in even that small step. Immigration activists and union organizers shared their personal stories about how Jeff Denham’s actions have failed them and their communities.
Julissa Ruiz Ramirez from California Dream Network, pointed to her mom, an immigrant from Mexico, while holding back tears: “Denham doesn’t realize what his inactions are doing to our family. We don’t come here to leave everything behind only to be called rapists, animals and criminals. We come here because we want to live like everyone else and have a life and future.” (Video of Denham saying every undocumented immigrant should be “detained, arrested and deported’ HERE.) Julissa is a Stanislaus State student who was sponsored to go to Washington, D.C. There, she spoke with Denham and he assured her he would take care of Dreamers. Shortly after, he voted against bringing the DREAM Act to a vote. (Video HERE.)
Over 15 community leaders from educators to high school students to second generation immigrants all spoke of the need to support immigrant communities with successful immigration reform legislation. A list of the organizations involved are listed below. Many demonstrators felt that Jeff Denham never intended to pass legislation protecting DACA recipients and creating a pathway to citizenship, and that his assurances to immigrants of his support were particularly empty words considering his multiple failures in any real immigration reform in Washington. The protest was peppered with chants such as “surprise, surprise, Jeff Denham lies” and “immigration built our nation.” The rally featured a puppet Jeff Denham, and a “flip flop throne” meant to symbolize Jeff Denham’s pattern of misleading the public on how he plans to vote. One Dreamer was scheduled to speak, Hector, a Latino high schooler from Ceres High with a 4.3 GPA. Because he was worried for his safety and potential deportation, he had an attendee read a letter on his behalf:
“I feel American at heart I go to school with people who see me no different than any other person and am fearful that I live with the uncertainty of my future even though as long as I remember I have called California my home. I was brought at 1 and a half years old yet I am viewed as a criminal for calling this my home. I believe I am American and would like be a contributing member of society one day.”
Tim Robertson, Director of the Northern Valley Federation of Labor stood in front of Denham’s office criticizing the incumbent for his repeated failures on immigration: “[Denham’s] been saying he wants to help immigrants. What progress have we seen? No longer does he get to say he is a friend of immigrants when the results are zero.”
Josh Harder, Democratic challenger addressed Denham’s talk about immigration reform as just that- cheap talk: “We have seen an incumbent member of Congress who loves to issue press releases about immigration. I have even received a couple of mailers discussed how much he supposedly loves Dreamers. In reality, he certainly doesn’t do anything to show Dreamers have a place within our community...It’s time to elect change at the ballot box.” Harder addressed the incumbent member of Congress’s long record of immigration failure: Five years ago, there was a bipartisan bill that would have given legal status not only to the Dreamers but also to 9 million other undocumented immigrants then in the U.S. passed the Senate 68-32. A handful of Republican Congressmen stood against it, preventing a House vote. Denham first promised to support that bill, but then reversed his position and opposed even bringing the bill to the floor for a vote. That happened again on Tuesday. “This recent primary election showed Jeff Denham is the second least favorite member of Congress in the entire state. Voters are noticing Denham’s repeated failures. With less than 38% votes that Denham garnered in this election, Central Valley has shown clear bipartisan disgust toward the incumbent,” said Harder.
Elected official Chi-Chi Jack, Trustee of Stanislaus County Board Of Education charged up the crowd by elaborating how important it is to elect an effective member of Congress willing to produce results on immigration: “We need to elect Josh Harder for the sake of Dreamers. Voters are you ready to elect a new Congressman?!”
Organizations: DREAMers, Indivisible Stanislaus, Our Revolution Turlock, Our Revolution CA-10, Indivisible Manteca, Patterson Progressive Alliance, Be the Change Turlock, Modesto Progressive Democrats, SwingLeft Stanislaus, United Farm Workers, MECHA - CSU Stanislaus, Modesto Junior College Young Democrats, Indivisible Tracy, Central Valley Democratic Club, North Valley Labor Federation, SEIU-UHW, Women Democratic Club of Stanislaus, Teamsters JC7, Modesto Junior College Democrats, California Dream Network, MECHA, United Farm Workers, Teamsters, Democrat challenging Jeff Denham (CA-10) Josh Harder